Monday, June 23, 2008

Lights: The Future of Lighting System for Automobiles

Our common automobiles had came a long way since a demonstration of a steam powered mechanical vehicle by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in the year 1770. Cars had improved by a great deal in terms of production, reliability, comfort as well as safety. But as time grows, the demands placed on the manufacturers for safer and more comfortable cars enabled them to push even the latest technologies to the limit.

In this article I will be writing about concepts and developments that will be available in the near future.

Source of Light
Currently most of the cars on the streets are using either the very dimm and yellow halogen lamp or the brighter and bluer xenon lamps.

Most of you guys might have gripes about the so-called blinding xenon lamps in Malaysia. Yes, Xenon lamps can be blinding, but only if they are utilized illegally on cars that are not built for this sort of lighting in the first place. Here in my company they've managed to bring down the lamp's brightness until it's virtually indistinguishable from a normal yellow coloured halogen lamp normally used in a car in Malaysia today.

The real future, however, lies in the advent of super bright Light Emitting Diodes (shortened to LEDs). These tiny devices aren not like those that you are used to seeing in consumer electronics. These tiny beasts, can be so bright that they can blind if you choose to look at it directly without filters. I myself got myself blinded for a few minutes because i activated one that was connected to a circuit that I've built here to test if it's working properly. Short to say, a few of these things will be bright enough to power a automobile's street lighting system.

Adaptive lighting system
Safety is still a prime consideration when designing a roadworthy aotumobile, and lighting system is and will always be a major part in make the passengers as well as the pedestrians safer from accidents.

In the near future, cars with adaptive street lighting will help to reduce costly accidents expecially in dark conditions and at night as well. Here are some of the innovation that you will see in the near future:
1. The front lighting system will turn the lights so that it lights up a curve when you negotiate one.
2. Automatic switching of lighting conditions so that it suits driving along a street in a city(wide lighting to help highlight the pedestrians) as well as highway driving (high beams)
3. Automatic dimming of high beams should incoming traffic is detected.
4. Adjusting of the lighting so that high beams can still be left enabled while not blinding incoming traffic. This can be done by making the use of lenses so that more of it goes to your side of the road instead of the opposing one.
5. Detection and highlighting of potential obstacles using auxiliary lamps that is to be intergrated into the front lights.

All thses can be accomplished using a small camera and a high speed processing systems to deal with the potential speed that the driver is going to drive in.

Everybody likes comfortable rides, as a driver as well as passengers. Here, researches are still being conducted on bringing the lighting systems so that the lights can produce colours that are as close to day light as possible.

Currently the yellowish halogen lamps produces light of temperatures of up to 1-2k Kelvin, and the blueish Xenon lamps upping the scale to 4-5k Kelvin. With more research, we will start seeing lighting sources that can produce lights with colour temperatures of closer to 6600K Kelvin (ideal daylight). With this temperature, your eyes will see things just how it would look like during the day.

These are just a preview of what is in store for us in the future. Start looking around for newer Audi, Cadilac and BMW models shoould you guys want to have a more detailed look as these fantastic technologies ;)



  1. hehe...i still prefer the light be light and the dark be dark...never wish to illuminate the dark...animals may probably hate disturbs their biological clock and sense of directions--a view from another angle =)

  2. Nevertheless...i was so amazed by the technology...really interesting!